This year has been better than the last few for the Swineherds—Nikolaos, his son Iason, Iason's wife Koralia, their daughter Despina, and their new baby Nikos (named after his grandfather as something of a good luck charm).
Even the month when the whole family caught the flu, one after the other laid up in bed for a week or two each, didn't leave them too badly off. With Despina now ten and old enough to be more of a help than a hindrance with the pigs, they finally have enough hands to manage the herd properly and are no longer struggling to earn enough to feed themselves, even though Nikolaos is still slower and weaker than he used to be before his illness a few years ago.
Iason takes the opportunity to buy a few more pigs from the market in Nowt, trading a few surplus turnips from their small field and most of the endless bundles of dipped candles Koralia made while she was too ill or too heavily pregnant to help with the pigs or the crops. The rest of the candles they didn't use themselves, along with the pork they didn't eat, are traded to other families in the village for various foodstuffs and other essentials: tallow to make more candles, wool to make clothes for the new baby, and the like.
Despina is fascinated by the hermit and spent a solid month early in the year sneaking away at every opportunity to listen to him talk, although most of it went over her head. Eventually, Iason dragged her back home by the ear; they might be doing better than they were, but that doesn't mean they can afford for anyone to do less than pull their weight.